The Impact of Negative Words

Regina Peacock, LCSW, DEL on Feb 01, 2023 in Mood and Feelings

The implications of “words” on psychological wellbeing is one of the most overlooked concepts in mental health. Many people have adopted the famous phrase which postulates that “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” However, an in-depth analysis of the implications of words reveals how words can extensively trigger emotions, imagination, actions, and have a profound effect on our thought process. The words that we hear can influence our perception of the world around us and how we respond to different situations in our surroundings.

Research shows that words have a profound effect on the physiology of the human brain. Positive words strengthen the frontal lobes and enhance cognitive functionality, while prolonged exposure to hostile language can disrupt the production of neurochemicals that play a crucial role in the management of stressful conditions.

Hostile words are known to disrupt the functioning of the parts of the brain, which are responsible for the initiation of positive feelings. Negative words are also known to activate the amygdala, which is the region of the brain responsible for the production of stress hormones. Overstimulation of the amygdala can cause high levels of stress, and to some extent, it can lead to chronic cases of depression.

Additionally, the use of appropriate words can extensively transform a person’s reality. This reality usually has a lot to do with a person’s self-image and the course they take in life. For example, if you tell a young child they will never amount to anything, and they believe it, they will grow to lack confidence in their capabilities, develop a hopeless mentality, and fail to rise to their fullest potential.

Reprogramming the brain in a positive way begins with changing the words that you say to yourself and others. From a neurological perspective, words have a profound effect on the physiology of the human brain. Exposure to positive words like "peace" and "love" can cause alteration of gene expressions in the brain. Numerous studies in neuroscience were also able to capture the effects of the use of positive affirmations. They found positive affirmations increase activation in the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for personality expression. Positive affirmations are “sentences that are repeated often during the day, and which sink into the subconscious mind, thereby releasing its enormous power to materialize the intention of the words and phrases in the outside world.”

When we have a positive relationship with ourselves, we are able to have positive relations with others. So being kind, gentle, non-blaming and loving to yourself is the first step in changing the words that you speak.

Regina Peacock is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Apple Valley, CA.

Recommended Articles